SOUTH SHROPSHIRE LOCAL GROUP

giving nature
a home

RECENT EVENT AND WALK REPORTS

Reports and photos of some of our earlier walks have now been archived but are available to read as Word documents - please click here to make an email request, specifying date (if known but not essential) and location.

There are FOUR reports below - please scroll down!

 

19th December 2018 - Venus Pool

 

Seven hardy souls met in the car park at 10.00am on a dull morning with the temperature only just above freezing and a biting east wind. Good job I was wearing my thermal long-johns. In the trees we saw nuthatch, robin and blackbird. But it was now time to explore the three main areas.

The hides overlooking the main lake

Not as many ducks and geese as seen on previous winter visits, presumably due to the freezing wind. Those that braved the conditions were cormorants, teal, black-headed gulls, canada geese, wigeon, mallards, moorhens, shovellers, gadwall and coot; but none in great numbers. A solitary grey heron was standing in the middle of the water and flying overhead were crows, woodpigeons and magpies and, finally, a kestrel hovered in the wind.

The woodland hide

Walking to the hide the field on the left revealed a blue tit and 2 redwings, the only winter thrushes seen all morning. Unlike the lake, the woodland was teeming with birds and the feeders were constantly visited by great tits, chaffinches, blue tits, greenfinches and coal tits whilst on the ground dunnocks, blackbirds, robins, moorhens and a pheasant hoovered up the seeds dropped by the tits and finches. We waited a while and were eventually rewarded with a brambling and a great spotted woodpecker. Inevitably all this food also attracted 2 rats and a grey squirrel and a couple of mallards on the little pool.

The walk along the field to the causeway and around to the back hide

We decided to brave the elements and walk across the causeway to the hide on the far side. The saying ‘enough to freeze the proverbials off a brass monkey’ came to mind! Walking along the field, the hedge on the left was full of chaffinches and patrolling the edge of the field, looking for a meal, was a sparrowhawk. Crossing the causeway, the lake on the right contained a fair number of mute swans, some tufted ducks and a great crested grebe. The area in front of the back hide was deserted with only a solitary coot and a rabbit. We didn’t stay long but as we left the hide the field beween the conifers and the road had a small flock of lapwings.

We headed off early to the pub in order to warm up and have lunch and share the awful jokes in the Christmas crackers. Only 32 species in total whereas usually we see 45 to 50 but a nice morning nevertheless in good company.

 

Trevor Halsey

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17th November 2018 - The River Teme, Ludlow

 

Photo: Carol Wood

22 people made the most of the late autumn sunshine to enjoy a short walk along the River Teme in Ludlow before climbing up into the woodland on the edge of Whitcliffe Common.

As we crossed the bridge below the castle, several keen eyed ornithologists started the bird count with a sighting of a kingfisher, quickly followed by a nuthatch foraging amongst the trees on the river bank. The ever present flush of mallards is a common site in this area and made a noisy accompaniment to the otherwise tranquil sounds of the Teme. It wasn’t long, however, before the roar of fast flowing water greeted our ears as we approached a weir and were able to observe a couple of salmon struggling against the current, trying to reach their spawning grounds further upstream. Unfortunately, the hoped-for sighting of the resident otters did not materialise. 

After a quick stop for coffee, we left the river and climbed up into the woodland to search for more secretive bird species hiding in the branches. A full list of birds seen is shown below, but we all found the constantly falling leaves a great distraction, as, at first glance, they appeared to resemble flocks of small passerines. Such is the pleasure of autumn!
 
Lunch was taken in the Green Cafe who offered a large range of unpronounceable dishes, but, after questioning the waitress, we managed to find something that suited us. Happy days.

Birds seen:-

Kingfisher, nuthatch, woodpigeon, crow, jackdaw, sparrow, mallard, magpie, great tit, blue tit, longtailed tit, dunnock, siskin, greenfinch, moorhen, goldfinch, blackbird, lesser black backed gull, chaffinch, robin, fieldfare, goldcrest, buzzard, wren, and black headed gull. 

Derek Delaney

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20th October 2018 - Colstey Wood

 

 

Photo: Chris Bateman

 

Nick and Linda Pyne led us on a beautiful autumn walk through largely beech woods. We enjoyed the rich colours and were convinced we had seen a brambling! A peregrine was also seen in flight.

Thank you to the leaders who are in the middle of moving house but spared the time to take us on this enjoyable walk.

Birds seen: Wood pigeon, robin, great spotted woodpecker, wren, coal tit, blue tit, nuthatch, red kite, magpie, buzzard, mallard, jay, marsh tit, raven, carrion crow, jackdaw, bullfinch, blackbird moorhen and brambling.

Carol Wood

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15th September 2018 - Severn Valley Country Park

    

Photos of Bob, Pam and friend and The River Severn.: Gail Ellis.

  (Suggestions for a caption for the first photo on a postcard please! No prizes.)

 

On the 15th September, we visited Severn Valley Country Park at Alveley near Bridgnorth. We were again lucky with the weather as it was a beautiful late summer day. Robins were singing their autumn song, with swallows and martins gathering in the sky above. Severn Valley is run by Shropshire Council’s Ed Andrews and his team of volunteers. It is ‘maturing nicely’ from a coal mining area to a riverside wildlife park with various habitats to explore. It also is situated next to Severn Valley Railway which provided great excitement for some of the members.
 
September is usually a quite time for birds, but Clive was first to notice the peregrine flying over, we also saw a kingfisher from the bridge over the river. Ducks were difficult to be positive about as in eclipse. We presumed they were mallards but gadwall are common on the Severn. Ron noticed the goosanders, which we expected to see. The sun brought out green veined and red admiral butterflies and common darter dragonflies. There were plenty of interesting plants for those keen on botany to study and Bob explained the different types of fish: chubb, dace and rudd in the river and carp in the pond.
 
There are two comfortable hides and from the second we saw a heron and a sparrowhawk. The park has a visitor centre with all facilities and also provides home cooked lunches which most of us enjoyed while overlooking the park and River.
 
Carol Wood

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